Banister hopes callups ease Tolleson's load

Rangers closer has been used in non-save situations

Banister hopes callups ease Tolleson's load

SAN DIEGO -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister used reliever Shawn Tolleson in a non-save situation to close out the Rangers' 8-6 win Tuesday night. The Rangers had a four-run lead going into the inning and the Padres scored twice before Tolleson got the third out.

With the expanded rosters of September, Banister is hoping increased depth in the bullpen can keep him from having to use Tolleson in non-save situations. If Banister can trust Ross Ohlendorf, Luke Jackson and Andrew Faulkner in the middle innings, it might allow him to save Keone Kela and/or Sam Dyson for late in the game. That would help ease the burden on Tolleson.

"Shawn has been as good as anybody in the closer's role," Banister said. "Even those guys get nicked from time to time. They are not going to be perfect. Shawn, prior to this year, had never closed a game. He has had to learn to be a closer at the Major League level."

Tolleson took over for Neftali Feliz as the closer in May and has been excellent. He has been successful on 28 of 30 save opportunities for a 93.3 success rate that is the third best in the American League. His 28 saves since May 20 are the most in the American League.

But, going into Wednesday's game, he was second in the American League with 61 appearances and third with 61 1/3 relief innings pitched.

"I feel good," Tolleson said. "A lot of guys, we go through little things, you come in and the body parts are not feeling their best. But it's mind over matter, you do what you can to feel right. As long as it's not a serious injury and can get loose in the bullpen, the situation of the game takes over and you feel like you have your best stuff."

Tolleson pitched Tuesday night after two days off. Prior to that, he had been used in seven games over nine days. That's the kind of use the Rangers would like to avoid with their closer as they go down the stretch.

"It's exciting," Tolleson said. "I have never been in this type of situation and never been on this type of team. It's exciting, it's what you play for. To have this role on this type of team is exciting. I don't take it lightly. I want to win. [Tuesday] I was thrilled we won. Obviously I want to be sharper in my outing, but at the end of the day, it's about having more runs than the other team. We'll take any win we can right now."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.